What a Journey!

on 05 August 2009

After Courtney came for a weekend we said our goodbyes to Lucy and entered the homestretch of the Appalachian Trail. Maine is truly a magical place. We hiked through moss and lichen-covered forests with majestical old-growth pines. We hiked past lakes without one house on the shore and heard the eery cry of the loon on numerous occasions. After picking up our last mail drop in the cool little town of Monson, we entered the "100 mile wilderness". We got dropped off at the trailhead by a guy in a pickup that reminded me of the scene in "Into The Wild" when Chris gets dropped off in Alaska. The sign serves as a warning to those inadequately prepared, however, the irony here is that if you truly are carrying the weight of 10 day's worth of food to satisfy your thru-hiker appetite, there is no way you're going to make it all the way through. We did it in 4.5 days. The first half was a bit challenging and we didn't cover as many miles as we would have liked. There were a couple decent climbs and several rivers that we had to ford, the deepest being about waist-deep.The area wasn't as remote as I thought it would be. Over the years, logging roads have provided access for people so it is no longer essential to start at the beginning. I though we would only see other long-distance hikers but we saw many day hikers and boy scout groups. About 3/4 of the way through we got our first glimpse of Mt. Katahdin from the shore of a lake. The end looked so near, but in typical AT fashion, the trail took the circuitious route as it meandered through the woods for another 30 miles or so to the base of the mountain. Mt. Katahdin was like no other mountain I've ever climbed. For the first 1/3 of the way up the mountain it looked as if it were going to rain any second. People were actually coming down because they went part way up and turned around because it was windy and cloudy with no view. We kept truckin' though. Getting a picture at the end was imperative. As soon as we reached the treeline it began to clear up and eventually the sun even came out. After treeline we still had a 2 1/2 mile hike to the summit. We had great visibility at the top. They say Katahdin is a great way to finish the AT and I couldn't agree more. It is a special place with an indescribable view.I purposely waited a few days to write this final post about our journey because I needed a few things to sink in. We were in such a hurry to finish the trail but during the bus ride on my way home I was already missing the trail. It was sad because I was finished with the hardest but most rewarding thing of my life. I saw beautiful things that I tried so hard to share on here but they can only be experienced to give full meaning. Living homeless for 4 months is a great lesson. If everyone could live like we did for a week this would be a much stronger country. There would be less greed, more empathy, and more appreciation for nature and what we have around us. Right now I'm sitting at Collegetown Bagels in Ithaca drinking a coffee that was made with water I didn't have to filter from a muddy stream. My laptop is plugged in to free electricity and in a second I will use their flush toilet and wash my hands with warm running water. When I leave I will throw my garbage into their trash instead of sealing it up in a ziplock bag to carry with me. It's amazing!

The next step is to walk back into the classroom. I've learned that, one, this country is BIG (something you only realize when you walk it) but secondly, it is also very beautiful. The threats to that beauty are everywhere though. Invasive species are destroying our forests. Many of these threats are directly tied to us though and my pledge this year and the rest of my career is to help students make informed decisions about their actions...the importance of recycling and "voting with your dollar" to make smart purchases. Hopefully, it'll help slow down the rate at which the logging trucks take apart the forests of Northern Maine and beyond. Thanks again to everyone involved in making this project possible.

I'll end with two great quotes I came across while hiking:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”
-Jimi Hendrix

"Be the change you want to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I've followed your adventure for nearly the entire trip, and it was very interesting and entertaining. I'm jealous.

Mom and Dad said...

Yeah baby!! You did it! You came a long way baby! Congratulations to both of you for persevering over this long haul and completing such a monumental endeavor!

Bronwyn said...

Congratulations Chad! Amazing! looking forward to hearing all about it.

Mr. Toyama said...

Congratulations! You are crazy and awesome!....Nice coat.

Ms. B. said...

Suit coat for the end? Wow! You made it! Congrats!!! (I hope I'm not ahead of the game here...)

Ryan said...

HAHAHA

Anonymous said...

Great Pic man!!!! Congrats, and amazing achievement!

Johnny

Julie said...

Amazing - and to end the endeavor with humor. Classic!

Anonymous said...

super cool chad!! congrats! -lindsay d

Aubrey said...

You did it!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Chad, loving the suit coat, can't wait to hear all about your trip. See you in a couple of weeks.

Wendy

Anonymous said...

Sweet!

Sara DeVoe said...

Congratulations once again Chad!!! Can't wait to see you and hear all about it. So proud of you and this amazing accomplishment:)

Anonymous said...

YAAAAAAAAAAY YOU DID IT!!!!!!!
I like the coat. HE HE!
Congratulations!
-Alissa

Anonymous said...

Yeah
Geat job man!!!!
Dennis, Matthew and Andrew

jfilzen said...

Chad,
It was great talking to you yesterday! Thanks for including me and everyone else in on your trek. Stay away from the news for a while...You might turn around and head back south...
John

Anonymous said...

WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!!! Great coats: ) )

Awesome job!

Ms Pratt

Anonymous said...

I'm so proud of you!!!! Great job! Can't wait to hear all about it!

Cali

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS! What an amazing journey you have taken. I can't even fathom the many ways this will alter and enhance your life views. Thank you for bringing us the virtual experience. I hope you will consider sharing some more of your thoughts after you've had an opportunity to reflect.

Angela S.

Elizabeth said...

We knew you would make it, but we are still very impressed by this photo. It is difficult to comprehend that since the day we met you at the top of Springer Mountain, you have been walking to Maine. And now you are there! An amazing feat achieved by putting one foot in front of the other... what a great lesson for everyone.

Betsy and Craig in Atlanta

Anonymous said...

SUPER COOL!!!!!!!!!!!
You made it! Awesome! I acn't wait to visit next year so I can hear more about it. Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been really busy this summer.
- Sam R.

Anonymous said...

Oh I forgot to say absolutely loving the suit jacket.
- Sam R.

Anonymous said...

woo you did it

Anonymous said...

back to your day job, eh?

Anonymous said...

just a hair shy of 15,000 views - not bad

Anonymous said...

Congrats!

Ms. B. said...

Chad,both those quotes were at Grassroots written in ink on cotton banners. I remember because I decided then to start my 6th grade reading class that I have this year with them researching the quote they want the school to know and live by.

Thanks so much for taking me on this journey but also thanks so much for, as usual, making me believe that we can make a difference, whether it be a man on a walk or 6th graders in reading.

It is possible to be a part of this world; we just have to be shown the way and make the effort. Thanks to you for both!

Can't wait to see you.....lost the caveman look yet? I'd rather hug a civilized man!

Hope to see you Thursday! Barb

Anonymous said...

Awesome job, Mr. Devoe! I knew you could do it! This is one of the most amazing things I've ever been a part of. I'm so glad you're finally home. I can't wait to hear all about the trip this year. I'm sure there's lots to tell.

Anonymous said...

we should have you up to 15,000 views by the first day of school!

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Chad. Thanks for bringing us all on your adventure with you: it's been fun!

Liz E.

McKayla B. Pollack said...

hey mr. devoe i havent been on here in a while i was just woundering if your having a good time. how far are u from getting to the end. this summer ive been hiking as well just not as much as you. well i see youve gotten far and i hope your having fun.

yours truly

McKayla Pollack (old 8th period class membor)

Anonymous said...

HOLY BOOMCHATCKA!!!!!!

I just read your voyage from start to finish. I took me 3 hours! I can only imagine how great of an experience this was for yo uand your classroom.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yaya you mad it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! good job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I haven't been on in a while because I've been really busy!!!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Anonymous said...

nice writeup on Syracuse.com

Anonymous said...

woowhoo 15,00 views.

The post standard article must have really bossted that!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS !!!!!!!!!!
You must of had an awesome
time seeing all the sights!
But any way above awesome job !!

:)Posted By,
Emily R.

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